We’re all aware that cycling presents benefits.
I just can’t believe it took me this long to start!
Before I began cycling, I had little to no exercise in my life. Going to the gym felt forced, especially as an outdoors person.
The benefits of cycling are both mental health and physical health. Ranging from losing weight, building muscle, and getting better sleep to lowering stress and anxiety, and improving intelligence.
Let’s dive exactly into all 30 health benefits I found!
|What's In This Guide?|
1. Weight Loss
Weight loss is a clear benefit of cycling.
Cycling weekly states cycling burns an average of 400-1000 calories per hour.
Riding a bike is a great way to burn more calories and lower your body weight.
Maximizing Weight Loss Through Cycling
To maximize the number of calories that we burn during cycling we need to:
- Take care of yourself when it comes to sleep
- Watch the amount of calories you consume
Do you want to maximize the amount of calories you burn through cycling?
Focus on eating right and maintaining proper rest.
When it comes to food and riding your bike, you don’t have to starve yourself. The essential element when it comes to food is balancing your meals.
This will help you lose weight and body fat!
How to Cycle for Weight Loss
You might be under the impression that losing weight through cycling requires a difficult workout.
This isn’t always the case.
Bicycling recommends we take slow, but lengthy rides at least once a week. Longer trips help burn body fat, lose weight, and can build up your endurance when it comes to making through those long bike rides.
Like lifting weights, it’s essential to start small, then build up. It won’t be long until you see the body fat melting off and the numbers on the scale going down.
2. Improves Your Cardiovascular System
As humans, we’re aware of certain cardiovascular diseases that can hinder our health.
These diseases include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
The good news is that cycling acts as a great form of protection against these diseases.
How exactly does riding your bike achieve this?
Heart muscles benefit through cycling, while fat blood levels feature a reduction. Having a low resting pulse is important. Luckily, cycling reduces that as well.
Fun fact about cycling:
Most people drive a car to work. Cycling to work reduces the amount of air pollution a person consumes.
These health benefits of cycling will pay off in both the short term and the long term.
3. Builds Muscle
Muscles are attractive and healthy.
Do you know what helps build them?
While our lower body muscles receive most of the health benefits of cycling, our core and arms benefit as well.
Here’s a more specific list of the muscle groups targeted during cycling:
My legs have benefitted so much from this form of exercise. Not only are they toned, having a more muscular lower body helps me feel more secure during riding.
The more we cycle, the more comfortable and more fun it gets.
Your glutes, also known as your butt, get a significant workout during cycling. Your glute muscles work hard with your hips to rotate your thighs during riding.
4. Bones Grow Stronger
Strong bones are essential for leading a healthy life. As we age, our bones naturally grow weaker. Young people who don’t exercise can additionally suffer from weak bones.
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Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones’ density and quality decline. Most doctors recommend high-impact exercises to help create friction for stronger bones. The problem is not everyone can take part in high-impact activities.
Low-impact exercises such as cycling can be a safer alternative toward strengthening bones.
Look toward combining low-impact exercises such as cycling with higher-impact exercises. Doing so will help achieve optimal bone health.
5. Decreases Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer
Are you interested in cycling your way to better heart health?
Keep on reading.
Harvard University reported on a study published by Circulation:
Those who cycle had up to a 15% lower rate of experiencing heart attacks.
If cycling every day sounds like a hassle, hopping on your bike once a week for 30 minutes leads to lower rates of:
- Heart disease
- Blood pressure
- High cholesterol
6. Cycling and Cancer
The connection between reduced cancer risks and cycling may not be clear at first.
If you’re looking for ways to get yourself in line with these ideas, consider biking to work if you’re able to.
7. Lowers Stress Levels
Stress is a killer.
If you’re someone who feels stressed out, consider hopping on a bike.
Letting stress build-up can lead to serious health issues down the line, such as:
- Heart attacks
- High blood pressure
Whenever I get done a bike ride, it feels like a Claritin commercial.
Before the trip, I’ll be carrying stress from work or relationships. But after I ride, I am a better version of myself.
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The physical nature of cycling reduces stress. The environment you cycle in can reduce stress as well in areas such as parks.
Choosing to cycle in nature is a great way to reduce stress. The enjoyment that I experience while biking through nature is unmatched. Biking outdoors motivates me to leave the indoors and gain a new perspective.
8. Lowers Anxiety
Anxiety can strike at any moment.
How we respond to anxiety is more important.
Cycling allows our brains to fight feelings of anxiety naturally.
According to the Anxiety Recovering Center of Victoria:
Cycling reduces chemicals in your brain that help fight anxiety, such as natural antidepressants.
Anxiety often occurs when you’re too attached to your thoughts. Cycling allows you to be more present, which directs your attention away from intrusive or negative thoughts.
You’ll be more focused on following traffic rules when cycling as opposed to falling into patterns on negative thinking.
9. Better Posture and Coordination
Cycling with improper posture can lead to adverse effects. We Love Cycling provides a great guide on how to ride with the correct positioning.
Riding with wrong positioning can lead to future muscle injuries in areas such as the neck and back.
When we practice these good habits, they translate to life off the bike.
Increased levels of coordination occur when cycling.
Biking doesn’t only involve your legs. You’re steering and relying on your vision and hearing to look out for possible hazards. Think of cycling as multitasking in one of the healthiest ways possible.
Balance is a massive aspect of cycling and tends to decline with age.
Cycling allows you to work on your balance and build higher levels of coordination.
10. Increased Joint Mobility
Joints are essential parts of our makeup as they promote more natural levels of movement.
Cycling is easy on the joints and is an efficient exercise when it comes to strengthening your joints.
When struggling with arthritis, consider cycling as an exercise to better your health.
What makes cycling beneficial to people struggling with arthritis is exercise’s low-impact nature.
Creaky joints explains the impact on weight-bearing joints isn’t as intense through cycling. Examples of weight-bearing joints include hips, knees, and feet.
With arthritis, it’s essential to keep in mind that the way you ride can have a major effect on how you feel after. Taking time not to peddle and coast can help ease your way through a ride and not burn yourself out.
Moving critical joints through cycling will help keep joints and increase mobility.
11. Improved Flexibility
Nobody likes feeling stiff and constrained.
Rising from bed or out of your car should feel as easy as possible.
Luckily, cycling helps promote healthier levels of flexibility.
Let’s talk about some of the health benefits you’ll receive when prioritizing your flexibility.
One key component that flexibility offers when cycling is a reduced risk of injury. Long bike rides can put extra strain on your muscles. It’s important to work up to these long bike rides, so you don’t overextend yourself and end up injured.
Downtube explains the following about flexibility:
Flexibility will boost your riding skills and allow you to use your power at various angles. A smoother ride ends up being the result with fewer aches and pains following the journey.
Proper stretching before and after a ride is essential. Stretching allows you to develop and maintains flexibility for cycling.
When discussing how cycling increases joint mobility, we touched on:
- The low-impact nature of cycling
- How low-impact areobic exercise promotes better joint health
Let’s access the science of low-impact exercise. First, we have to define the term and give examples of its health benefits.
Low-impact workouts don’t exert significant amounts of force on your joints. An example of a high-impact exercise would be performing jumping jacks.
The primary benefit of performing low-impact exercises is the lessened likelihood of injury. If you’re older and still looking to stay active, this is something to keep in mind.
If you’re rebounding from an injury, low-impact workouts such as cycling are a great choice.
Well, rounded individuals mix in both low-impact and high-impact exercises into their schedule.
When accessing which exercises to include in your life, consider that:
- Cycling is a low-impact aerobic exercise
- Cycling increases joint mobility and promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
13. Good Core Workout
To get a good stomach or core workout from cycling, you must ride in the correct position.
Chron’s cycling article states:
Correct positioning is essential for optimal core benefits when biking. Cycling instructors or bike salespeople can assist with positioning yourself.
There are specific techniques you can practice while biking to maximize core benefits.
Abdominal bracing uses your entire core as a means to stabilize your body. To practice abdominal bracing, inhale completely, then tighten your abs when exhaling.
Repeating this exercise in a series of 10 reps is a stable regimen.
Lifting your behind while riding uphill helps engage your core. Bringing yourself and utilizing your stomach muscles is a great way to engage your core.
14. Improves Sleep
Do you struggle with insomnia?
Like many people, I occasionally find myself restless and unable to drift into sleep. Proper rest is so vital when it comes to maintaining optimal health.
Thankfully, biking helps improve your sleep and will reduce your risk of insomnia.
Exercise has proven itself as a positive contributor toward a better night’s sleep. Your body needs rest after exerting itself during the day. By achieving deeper rest due to a day’s exercise, we feel more rested upon waking up.
People who don’t exercise are more likely to deal with energy crashes during the day.
Time to talk about low-impact exercising again!
Paulsen made an excellent point in their article about cycling and sleep:
The low-impact nature of biking reduces the risk of injury or muscle aches. A body that is injury and free of aches can more effortlessly receive proper rest.
15. Improves Intelligence
Neuroscience research supports cycling’s positive effect on a person’s intelligence.
Lifehack explains how cycling creates more proteins that go toward brain cell production. The more you ride, the more brain cells your body produces.
Cognitive abilities are higher through riding with an increased rate of neurotransmitter activity. Various parts of our brain have to communicate with each other faster.
When we cycle a lot, we combat the brain’s tendency to decline cognitively due to age.
In the realm of cognitive function, emotional intelligence plays a huge role in our lives. Physical activity through cycling helps boost our mood.
Cycling also creates higher levels of self-worth. Elevated moods allow us to combat stress when it occurs with more effectiveness.
16. Better Immune System
Are you looking to rejuvenate your immune system?
Then keep reading!
It’s often easy to take the value of our immune system for granted. It protects us against common sicknesses, bacteria, cancers, and physical trauma. We only realize how valuable it is when we’re ill.
The Guardian published a study reflecting the anti-aging effects of cycling. The study showed cycling contributed to a boosted immune system.
The thymus organ in our bodies creates immunity T-cells. After our early 20s, the thymus tends to shrink and produce lower levels of T-cells.
A study found T-cell levels in older cyclists were comparable to T-cell levels in young adults. Specifically, 20-year-olds.
What we can take from these studies is that:
- Our immune system declines with age
- Cycling can help combat that natural pattern.
17. Biking Will Save You Money
Who doesn’t like saving money?
Let’s get real.
Gas is expensive.
Perhaps you live in a city like New York. Even if you don’t need a car in New York; you’re shoulder to shoulder with people riding the train.
Cycling can help you save money while combating the sedentary lifestyle that we’ve created.
Many of us commute to work in automobiles. When our vehicles malfunction and need repair, costs can be very high.
The cost of repairing your bike compared to a vehicle is much lower.
Bikes are much more straightforward to the point where you can learn to fix the bike yourself.
18. Cycling is Social
How great does a summer bike ride in the park with a friend sound?
Cycling with others allows you to take in your surroundings in a new way with the people you love to spend time with.
Socializing through cycling gives you the chance to explore a variety of environments. Wood bike paths, city biking, and beach path riding are all fun ways to stay active with a group.
There are many cycle groups in the world that use organized activity to promote cycling. Riding in pacts allows you to form a bond with people over shared interests and make new connections.
Part of what makes cycling social is the prolonged nature of the activity. You spend time prepping for the ride, performing the trip, and winding down after the route.
During these journeys, you’ll have some quality chats.
19. Environmental Benefits Of Cycling
Pollution occurs as a bi-product when people use cars.
In recent years, pollution has become a more significant threat to the environment.
Fight back against auto pollution through riding and commuting via a bike.
When people ride bikes more, cars are less essential.
People tend to overlook how much environmental damage occurs through constructing:
Bike riding reduces the need for road space and allows more opportunity to let plant life exist.
Have you ever heard complaints about cyclists being too loud?
Cities such as Los Angeles struggle with noise pollution due to automobile activity. Help create a quieter, more peaceful environment through the use of a bike.
20. Great Family Activity
Being stuck inside the house for too long isn’t suitable for families. Cycling is a great way to get out of the house and explore different areas.
Purchasing a bike rack makes it easy to transport bikes to different areas. Riding around the neighborhood is a great option as well to keep things simple.
Think about how much time we spend on our phones and other electronic devices. Biking forces you to be present at the moment and enjoy your surroundings.
Cycling is a form of meditation that can teach the value of being present with one’s surroundings.
Bike Citizens revealed:
Children who cycle had increased levels of concentration in school.
This study is a reflection of our body’s needs. When we meet our bodily needs, we receive natural health benefits we can install in our lives.
21. Cycling Improves Your Sex Life
Cycling is attractive.
Are you feeling skeptical about that claim?
Here’s a fun survey:
Cyclist reported a study conducted by the British Heart Foundation:
Among 600 men and women surveyed, 1 in 4 would prefer to date a cyclist over any other type of athlete.
A cyclist’s lifestyle has positive effects on their sex life and relationships. Biking gives you more energy. That energy can benefit a relationship and elevate moods.
Cycling improves cardiovascular system by increasing blood flow. Increased blood flow is key toward building endurance in a physical relationship.
Elements in our lives, such as stress, hurt our sex lives. Regularly participating in cycling helps control stress hormones.
Too much stress and negative emotion can lead to depression.
Depression is known to have a negative effect on a person’s sex drive.
Regulating your health through cycling improves your sex life.
22. Controls Type 2 Diabetes
Technogym does a great job reflecting how serious diabetes is. The article also shows how we can combat diabetes through cycling.
The article states:
The International Diabetes Federation claims “by 2040, 1 in 10 adults will suffer from diabetes”. Healthcare workers are spending 12% of medical expenses providing care for those with diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is a prominent form of diabetes. A balanced diet and exercise is the key to fight diabetes.
Physical activity is so essential when it comes to combating type-2 diabetes. Cycling is the best form of exercise to improve your body’s ability to absorb glucose.
If you want your body to absorb more glucose, cycling is a great repetitive exercise.
The more you cycle, the further you distance yourself from diabetes.
What’s neat about cycling and diabetes is that regular exercise tends to be the best solution. Consistency, not overdoing it, is key.
Cycling is a great way to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in men and women!
23. Increases Energy Levels
It’s 2:00 pm on a Tuesday, and your head is hitting the desk.
We’ve all been there.
Energy crashes are frequent, especially during work weeks.
Luckily, cycling acts as an excellent strategy to boost your energy levels naturally.
Without proper energy, we suffer from a lack of concentration, which affects productivity.
Cycling before work is an especially good idea. Biking allows more blood vessels to be present in your brain. More blood vessels call for the transport of higher levels of oxygen and nutrients.
If you cycle to work, you’ll have higher levels of concentration compared to those that go for a simple cup of coffee.
Pedaling on a bike creates higher rates of nerve cell communication. A result of higher neuron activity is more proteins to build new brain cells.
As we age, it’s especially important to keep this science in mind. If you regularly suffer from afternoon crashes, think of cycling as prepping your brain for a full day ahead.
24. Reduction in Pain
As humans, we are vulnerable to injury.
An injury doesn’t only occur when we are exercising. We have to prepare our bodies so that we can withstand daily challenges and avoid pain.
With the sedentary lifestyle that people live at work and at home, exercising becomes more essential.
Many of us work office jobs that force us to sit in front of a desk. Lower back pain from poor posture is a prime example of familiar pain.
Riding a bike is a great way to stay limber and up to speed.
The low-impact nature of cycling presents an excellent opportunity to rejuvenate your wellbeing. If you’re injured and looking to rebound, cycling is a great choice.
A lot of shared pain that people experience is muscular. Bicycle Universe makes the critical claim that:
“Riding with proper posture only serves to strengthen your muscles.”
25. Aids Digestion
Riding a bike for as little as 30 minutes a day can do enormous things for your digestive system.
Cycling ensures that food moves at a faster pace through the intestines. This accelerated digestive rate is due to blood flowing away from your gastrointestinal region and into your heart or lungs.
Times Now News states that the amount of water lost in your stool is less as a result of cycling.
Several people suffer from conditions such as IBS that have negative effects on digestion.
If you’re looking to ease the symptoms you experience from IBS, keep in mind that exercises such as cycling aid and even speed up digestion.
Digestive problems can occur as a result of built-up tension.
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that helps release tension. As a result, your digestion occurs more naturally.
Everyday Health claims that patients with digestive issues tend to be less active. Try hopping on a bike to see if your digestion improves.
26. You Can Live Longer
It’s not surprising that cyclists live longer lives. There’s tons of research that backs the physical and mental health benefits of the exercise.
Insider published an excellent article studying those who biked to work and how they lived more extensive lives. People who drive, take public transit, or even walk to work saw no extension of their lifespan compared to those that biked to their job.
This study is essential, considering that less than 1% of Americans bike to work.
Part of what makes cycling unique is our ability to bike into old age due to the low-impact nature of the exercise. If we’re exercising regularly throughout our lives via cycling, it’s natural that we’ll extend our lives to a certain degree.
Regular cycle sessions are associated with a lower rate of cancer and heart disease.
If you’re looking for a way to get yourself in line with some of the healthy habits of bikers, consider biking to work or riding a bike for fun.
27. Helps With Arthritis
Exercise is necessary to sustain cartilage and joint health. Arthritis due to age can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. The problem is the pain will only increase if we don’t find low-impact exercises to install in our lives.
That’s where riding a bike comes in.
Those who have arthritis in regions such as lower limbs and spine can enjoy cycling. Biking gives these lower areas the proper movement needed to stay healthy.
The science of how cycling helps arthritis can be tied back to the relationship between biking and joint health. Those who cycle are working on loosening their joints. This leads to increasing mobility not usually present in those with arthritis.
People with arthritis in areas such as the knee (osteoarthritis) can benefit from cycling. Movement on the cycle is targeted toward negatively affected areas.
Whenever I’m looking to exercise my joints without overloading them, I look toward cycling.
28. Learn to Navigate Your City
Let’s say you live in Manhattan and ride the train to work every day. Whenever you hop on that train, so know what you’ll see along the way, and where you’ll end up.
Riding a bike is a great way to mix things up and take in parts of the city you wouldn’t usually experience. An added benefit of traveling on a bike is you’ll learn more about your city’s layout excitingly.
While riding with precaution is advised, don’t let cycling in a big city scare you. Many big cities have an infrastructure that supports cycling through marked lanes and cement paths.
If you’ve decided to travel more via cycling, you might run into an instance where a road in your city is undergoing construction. Taking alternative routes will help you stay on your toes and boost total awareness.
Learn more about your city’s layout and travel through areas you usually wouldn’t through cycling.
29. Improves Endurance
Endurance is vital when it comes to maintaining optimal energy levels throughout the day.
If you’re looking to build endurance, you need to achieve consistency with how you exercise. One great thing about cycling is it’s easy to incorporate regularly into your life.
Whether you want to:
- Cycle to work
- Cycle on the weekend
- Cycle for a set time every day
Cycling is an accessible activity that does all the necessary things to better your health such as:
- Higher joint mobility
- Increasing circulation
- Decreasing stress
Consistently cycle, consistently raise your endurance.
30. Enjoy the Outdoors
Devices such as cell phones and computers play such a significant role in our lives. Disconnecting and being present in the outdoors has many benefits, both physical and mental health.
Whether I feel like it or not, making time to cycle after being trapped inside opens up my world. I immediately have a new perspective through an authentic connection with my surroundings.
Biking through nature allows me to enjoy peace and quiet. Cycling through an urban area enables me to explore shops and restaurants I’ve never been to.
Not only is biking a great way to navigate the outdoors, but parking also has never been more accessible.
When you spend time pedaling, you’re distancing yourself from health problems. You’re getting closer to the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.
The accessibility of cycling makes the activity easy to incorporate into your life.
As someone who cycles, I know that I’m participating in a fun activity that has positive effects on my body, and the people around me.
By sticking to a regular cycling schedule you will improvee your quality of life.
Happy and healthy cycling!